I’d Die for You by F Scott Fitzgerald is a series of short stories which for one reason or another were not published during the author’s lifetime. Some stories were lost, others in private collections, but they are now available to the public.
I was privileged to receive an Advanced Reader’s Copy from Netgalley containing one of the newly found tales from this recently published book (in exchange for an honest review)
In the charming short story, The Pearl and the Fur, Fitzgerald, in just seventeen pages, is able to draw the reader back to the 1930’s as we witness the trials and tribulations in the life of young Gwen. The reader presumes the time frame is after the Wall Street crash since the fifteen year old laments that her family no longer has the money to travel as they once did. Her renewed hopes to visit such places as Bermuda or Jamaica are dashed when the piece her father found in an oyster while they were dining out was not a pearl after all. If only it wasn’t just a bit of shell, then they could have taken the once promised trip over her Easter vacation.
Instead, she and her best friend, Dizzy Campbell, have an opportunity to travel from Vermont to New York City with some of their classmates led by their teacher, Mrs Tulliver. They visit the sites and go to various matinees and spend time shopping, but the entire trip lacks excitement. Even visits to a hotel, famous for its tea dances, led to disappointment since none of their male compatriots were around and they could only sit and listen to their favorite orchestra play without the opportunity to dance.
Finally their chaperone allows them an adventure. Each girl can explore a different part of the city and report back on their findings. Gwen decides to take the public transportation to the outreaches of Manhattan then ride on the subway back to their hotel. While getting off at a stop and looking around the deserted streets at Kingsbridge, she misses her ride. Not to be discouraged, she catches a cab, lucky to find one here in such an out of the way spot.
The young driver, new at the job, tells Gwen about his dreams to go to Williams College. She confides in him as well and the two teens seem to hit it off. Thinking there’s a robe at her feet, Gwen reaches down and is surprised to find a chinchilla cape, worth a lot of money, which has been left in the taxi. She insists they drive to the home office to see if anyone has claimed this lost item. Through a series of unexpected adventures with her newfound friend, Gwen shows her true character in resolving this “mystery” resulting in a fully satisfying conclusion.
You don’t get to read quaint stories such as this anymore. A simple, heartfelt tale which leaves behind a warm feeling and a smile. If the rest of Fitzgerald’s short stories are similar to this one, I heartily recommend this book. Four and a half stars.